Many on the left are promoting a recent video created by novelist and left-wing activist Don Winslow, which calls upon citizens to become cyber detectives to monitor and report fellow citizen Trump supporters to authorities while comparing the work of this “army of citizens” to that which led to the capture of al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden.
“On January 20, Donald Trump will become the Commander-in-Chief of a different army,” the slightly over two-minute clip begins. The words “This army” are then displayed as Trump supporters in Washington, DC, flash on the screen.
The threat addressed is described as emanating from “radical” conservatives who live among us. The clip continues:
The greatest threat facing America today comes from within: radical extreme conservatives, also known as domestic terrorists. They’re hidden among us, disguised behind regular jobs. They are your children’s teachers. They work at supermarkets, malls, doctor’s offices, and many are police officers and soldiers.
The video, which has received over 3.5 million views since, then claims that the president will begin a civil war once out of office and that ordinary citizens must “fight back.”
“In the years ahead, Trump will lead his army of domestic terrorists. He will encourage and incite violence,” the clip states. “He will start a civil war.”
“We have to fight back,” the clip continues. “In this new war, the battlefield has changes. Computers can be more valuable than guns. And this is what we need now more than ever: an army of citizen detectives.”
The narrator then reiterates the clip’s bold call.
“I’m proposing we form a citizen army,” he says. “Our weapons will be computers and cell phones. We who are monitoring extremists on the internet and reporting their findings to authorities.”
Outrageously, the clip then compares this “army of citizens” against Trump supporters to the monitoring and discovery of arch-terrorist Osama bin Laden.
“Remember, before the Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden he had to be found,” the clip continues. “He was found by a CIA analyst working on a computer thousands of miles away.”
Concluding with a call to action, the clip calls upon viewers to understand that the success of this “army” is in their hands.
“It’s up to you,” the video concludes, adding the hashtag “#TrumpsNewArmy.”
The hashtag has seen tens of thousands of tweets since.
Winslow, the producer of the clip, is a bestselling author of nearly two dozen crime and mystery novels as well as a screenwriter and has been the recipient of many prestigious awards.
His thriller The Death and Life of Bobby Z (1997) was turned into a film starring Paul Walker and Laurence Fishburne. Winslow also wrote the adaptation of Savages into a film of the same name, with Oliver Stone directing.
He has been a continual critic of the Trump administration.
In October, Winslow produced a Joe Biden campaign ad narrated by left-wing actor Jeff Daniels which took aim at President Trump in an effort to flip Michigan blue.
Winslow added several messages when publicizing the new clip, clarifying just how far he seeks to go.
“I’m calling for an AN ARMY OF CITIZEN DETECTIVES to FIGHT #TrumpsNewArmy of white supremacy. Will you help? Will you spread word?” he wrote.
I'm calling for an AN ARMY OF CITIZEN DETECTIVES to FIGHT #TrumpsNewArmy of white supremacy.
Will you help?
Will you spread word? https://t.co/xrZaRP0Omd
— Don Winslow (@donwinslow) January 19, 2021
“This video is a CALL TO ACTION,” he reiterates.
“No one in #TrumpsNewArmy should be given a pass,” he wrote in one tweet while clarifying in another that members of “Trump’s New Army” include Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Josh Hawley and GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert.
Many on the left have already begun promoting the clip and encouraging viewers to sign on.
“America or Trump,” wrote Pulitzer Prize-winning senior art critic and New York Magazine columnist Jerry Saltz. “An army of citizens prepared to root out and arrest #TrumpsNewArmy in their new cause of Civil War and Right Wing Domestic Terrorism.”
“How many domestic terrorists will T**** inspire to violence against Americans in the next year?” asked Miami-based Huffington post columnist Grant Stern. “Probably a lot. #TrumpsNewArmy.”
“ARREST EVERY TRAITOR,” wrote former Congressional candidate from Florida Dr. Dena Grayson.
‼️On January 20, Donald Trump will be no longer be @POTUS. He will be escorted OUT of the WH and will lose control of the US military.
But he will continue to lead his army of violent #Seditionists.
— Dena Grayson, MD, PhD (@DrDenaGrayson) January 19, 2021
“Spread. This. Everywhere,” wrote liberal radio host Chip Franklin.
“The domestic terrorists are standing back (again) and standing by (again),” wrote Emmy-winning marketing director Ryan Bell. “#TrumpsNewArmy will continue to be a danger to our nation after he is no longer president.”
“Another powerful and poignant video from @donwinslow America it’s up to us!” wrote Author/activist and Huffington Post contributor Ariaa Jaeger. “If you want democracy participate in ensuring it succeeds! Please RT.”
“Spread #TrumpsNewArmy by @donwinslow far and wide,” wrote former Editor-In-Chief and co-founder of Hill Reporter James Kosur.
“What happens to #Cult45 when their Dear Leader blows them off to focus on his prosecution in New York?” asked Hill Reporter contributing writer Tara Dublin. “#TrumpsNewArmy is a #DipshitMilitia of losers who thought their whiteness would protect them, and NOPE #MAGAIsOver.”
“It is up to ALL OF US, in this together,” wrote filmmaker Adam Rifkin.
Faux conservative anti-Trump Lincoln Project senior adviser for veterans affairs Fred Wellman called to turn in the “insurrectionists and racists.”
“Don is right. It’s up to us,” wrote Wellman.
“Do you love this country? Fight for it,” he added. “We can’t let these insurrectionists and racists take it from us. Turn them in. Fight for our democracy. #TrumpsNewArmy”
Don is right. It’s up to us. Do you love this country? Fight for it. We can’t let these insurrectionists and racists take it from us. Turn them in. Fight for our democracy. #TrumpsNewArmy https://t.co/Pjo6BnSwMn
— Fred Wellman (@FPWellman) January 19, 2021
Anti-Trump activist Majid M. Padellan (a.k.a Brooklyn Dad Defiant), with a Twitter following of over 840 thousand, was among the strongest supporters of the initiative.
“#TrumpsNewArmy is VILE. And we KNOW who they are,” he wrote. “They are our teachers. They are our neighbors. They are our police officers. They are EVERYWHERE. EXPOSE THEIR TREASON.”
#TrumpsNewArmy is VILE.
And we KNOW who they are.
They are our teachers.
They are our neighbors.
They are our police officers.
They are EVERYWHERE.
EXPOSE THEIR TREASON. https://t.co/3CBleymmZ2
— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) January 19, 2021
“[Trump’s] ‘army’ is still here, hiding amongst us,” he added. “They are traitors. They are evil. And they MUST be rooted OUT.”
Referencing the September 11 terror attacks, Padellan reiterated the need to “expose” the “terrorists.”
“After 9/11, we were told: ‘If you see something, say something,’” he wrote. “We have TERRORISTS in our midst. Some of us KNOW these people. It is our patriotic DUTY to expose them. Save a life. Say something. Expose #TrumpsNewArmy.”
“Spread this new gem by @donwinslow far and wide,” wrote ReallyAmerican.com, a Super PAC “dedicated to defending Truth, Democracy, Social Justice, and Environment” and fighting “to End the Nightmare of the Trump Presidency and right-wing rule.”
But not everyone commended the clip’s message.
“This video is diabolical, painting millions of citizens, not only as disloyal to the nation–but as literal terrorists–as it attempts to draft the rest into fighting their neighbors in a civil war the filmmakers clearly desire,” wrote podcaster Bret Weinstein.
“I stand with all patriots against this madness,” he added.
This video is diabolical, painting millions of citizens, not only as disloyal to the nation–but as literal terrorists–as it attempts to draft the rest into fighting their neighbors in a civil war the filmmakers clearly desire.
I stand with all patriots against this madness. https://t.co/yZZJDKuksi
— Bret Weinstein (@BretWeinstein) January 19, 2021
“You are delusional,” replied DJ Brian Dawe. “Once again… your blanket stereotyping of all Trump supporters and conservatives in general is some Hitler vs the Jew shit.”
“You should be at least temporality disabled by Twitter for inciting violence, but there is a clear double standard on this platform,” he added.
“This is so dangerous it’s hard to sum up in a tweet,” responded producer and director Robby Starbuck. “It puts a target on the head of every conservative, calls for war and propagandizes to form a vigilante group that would narc on neighbors.”
“If Hitler or Stalin we’re alive today, they’d proudly use your video,” he added. “Sick and evil.”
“Hey, @jack @TwitterSafety… found actual incitement of violence in case you’re interested in enforcing your own rules at any point,” quipped Twitter user Eric Spencer.
— Eric Spencer (@JustEric) January 19, 2021
The notion of associating Trump supporters with terrorism is not novel to Winslow’s initiative.
Last week, Representative Eric Swalwell (D-CA) stated during PBS’s impeachment coverage that President Trump had “radicalized” his supporters the same way the late terrorist leader Osama bin Laden had.
Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.